#224 | Cornelia Klimczak | Add new Article II Language Below Principles and Sources

Submission 224
Cornelia Klimczak
Unitarian Society of Northampton & Florence (Northampton, MA) 4816

What is your suggestion or idea?

I am in favor of continuing to include the 7 principles and 6 sources in Section C.2.2 for now, and to add the Article II revision language below them. I do not believe the current revision proposal adequately substitutes for them, although I am strongly in favor of centering love and including action-oriented values statements in addition to our current principles and sources. It is clear from the submissions of edits to the current Article II proposal that many people feel strongly about how we describe our foundational commitments as UUs. I advocate that the UUA initiate a widespread process to edit and update both the principles and sources in the coming years. Action on values should grow out of principles. Our denomination also benefits from the inspirational language of the sources, which give a religious and spiritual grounding to the principles and values. I believe that a future inclusive interactive revision process to update the existing principles and sources would be energizing for our faith community, whether or not the current proposal is approved.

The UUA’s efforts to seek input to date seem to me to be too little, too late. I hope our delegates will have the opportunity to vote on an option that is “both-and,” including the current principles and sources and the new values section, and not “either-or.” I question whether By-laws are really the best place for this kind of content, and would support an effort to create a different official holding structure for them, especially if the principles and values are replaced as a result of the vote at GA.
I also support the substitution of a tree graphic for the proposed flower, drawn as rooted in the interconnected principles and sources, with the trunk as love and the branches as the values.

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

My main reason for this suggestion is that I don’t believe the proposed Article II values alone will be effective at introducing Unitarian Universalism to newcomers, who are often seeking a spiritual home. The values don’t seem to me to be inspirational or spiritual enough. They do not mention the ““direct experience of . . .transcending mystery and wonder”” that grounds so many of us spiritually. The existing principles and sources in their current form do a better job with helping others to understand our denomination, in my opinion, and could continue to do so for at least the next 25 years with minimal updating. Although the values labels may be easier to remember than our current principles; alone, I don’t think they adequately describe us as a religion. As written, they could represent the values of almost any progressive organization. I believe they would be much more effective in clarifying our commitments and guiding our actions if introduced with the added inspirational context that the principles and sources provide.
I think a tree would be a more powerful image than the flower and could effectively incorporate the principles, sources and values in one graphic, while still centering love.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

Yes, I have discussed this idea with several different groups in our congregation and with the minister and DRE and it has been posted on a shared google folder. About a dozen USNF members have been crafting amendment ideas together on a shared document. Many people agree with me about the value of keeping the principles and sources in Article II whether or not the proposed values section is added below them. And most people I have spoken with would appreciate the opportunity to join in a future effort to update the language of the principles and values, whether or not the proposed amendment passes.


I agree completely! Keep the 7 principles and sources, add a section “Discussion of Our shared values” (after eliminating the redundancies). Maybe add an 8th Principle to put our principles into action, clarifying that its not enough to intellectually affirm them, but that we are obligated to act in accordance with them.

I strongly agree with Corky’s suggestion! The current principles and sources are the foundation of our faith, the foundation on which our values-based actions are built. I also support Corky’s suggestion of an inclusive UUA-wide process, in the near future, to examine and update the current principles and sources.